Bryant Library’s proposed 2019-20 budget is up for a public vote on May 21 and includes more funding for library events and museum passes while keeping taxpayer contributions stable.
The $5.1 million budget for the library in Roslyn is a 0.3 percent increase from the current budget. The total amount raised by taxes is perfectly stable at $5.06 million.
“We always have a strong attendance for programs, we do get a lot of usage, but we’re always mindful in the end of what the impact on the taxpayer’s going to be,” said library Director Victor Caputo. “The idea of offering a zero percent increase this year is a great way of listening to what they’re saying.”
Library programming includes events such as concerts, author talks and programs for children. Patrons can expect even more in the coming year, Caputo said.
This past year, programs attracted more than 47,000 attendees, according to the Board of Trustees.
The museum pass program allows library patrons to borrow passes for free entry to museums and other attractions. Recent additions include The Frick Collection, which patrons had asked for, and the “empire pass,” which offers free entry to New York state parks, Caputo said.
“They are incredible successful,” the director said of the passes. “It’s a money saver for the patrons who use them.”
Under the new budget, the library would transfer $250,000 to a capital fund to be spent on building repairs due to routine wear-and-tear, he said.
The budget for books and related materials is set to increase by $400 to reach $147,400 while the budget for digital materials would remain steady at $85,550.
Every year, the director and library board examine each contract they have and renegotiate as they see fit, Caputo said. This year, interest revenue is up by $23,900 due to renegotiating with banks.
The library budget will be the second item on the ballot, after the Roslyn Public Schools budget.
“The Bryant Library Board of Trustees continues to strive to balance the exceptional service you know and expect from the Library with a challenging economic climate,” members of the board wrote in a letter to the community. “As trustees and community members, we consistently seek cost saving measures that will keep The Bryant Library as a strong community center without detracting from our mission.”
The library had more than 170,000 visits and nearly 190,000 item check-outs this past year, they wrote.
Beyond offering resources such as book and events, the Bryant Library is a place where neighbors run into each other and groups congregate, Caputo said. Those who manage the library are constantly looking for ways to adapt to community needs and desires, he said.
“We are a community center,” Caputo said. “It gives people a chance to sit down and watch a show, hear a lecture … it gives the community a chance to get together.”